Reviewed by Rachael Sulaiman.
The gorgeous Pleasance Dome: fairy-lit like mad and full to the brim of acts on the phone looking worried, tourists excited about being inside out the drizzle, and staff bright-eyed before the lethargy of a 9-hour shift kicks in. If you find yourself there, then head upstairs to Loyiso Gola’s show, Pop Culture. The man has been twice Emmy-nominated, Mocked on the Week, Netflixed, and is here to Fringe. In his show, he takes us through the ups and downs of pop culture from sociopathic presidents and cancel culture to turns of phrase.
Finding yourself fake laughing when you catch a performers eye is always a worry, but here I found myself actually suppressing my genuine laughter at points (laughing for too long, I know, so British). With material ranging from hilariously close-to-the-bone white guilt to Creature Comforts style animal impressions, Loyiso Gola has more range than an Aldi centre-aisle. An especially funny segment on the absurdity of airports had me forget all about the misery I felt earlier when paying 6 quid for a glass of wine from a pop-up. He had the audience howling at our collective society, forcing us to face the ridiculous lengths we go to adhering to popular culture.
Although a comedy show at heart, Gola’s storytelling abilities come a close second. Each joke felt carefully balanced; our storyteller walking the tightrope between eye-opening stories and gut-wrenching laughter. The choices we make, the emotions we feel, the brands and names we “cancel” – how does pop culture affect them?
Mulling over the jokes from the show while writing this, I wasn’t only laughing but also deliberating. Critically analysing the whims that pop culture has us adhere to. Those that we simply accept without really questioning why. You’ll feel as daft as a tarantula’s wee pet frog for being a sucker to pop culture. But Gola has you gutting yourself at the collective of idiots paying extortionate prices for airport food (you’re in that collective by the way).
To take a note out of his book, go deliberate for yourself how the show is, and head over to the Pleasance Dome.
Loyiso Gola: Pop Culture runs at Pleasance Dome 10 Dome at 19:00 until 26th August.